Wiring acupuncture needles up to electricity sounds a little intimidating right? However done correctly, there is nothing to be concerned about, and lots to be positive about.
Electroacupuncture was first used by Jean-Baptiste Sarlandière, a French anatomist and physiologist, in 1825, where he used it to treat respiratory and rheumatic conditions. Its use in China is attributed to Tang Shicheng, who wrote a treatise on the subject in 1934.
What is it used for?
Electroacupuncture (EA) can be used to increase the stimulation of the acupuncture points, having a greater effect on the nervous system; a system that is very used to working via electrical currents. EA is a great help in many cases, and with these high quality machines, we can set the frequency and strength of the stimulation, with known actions on the local tissues and the central nervous system processes being targeted. Electroacupuncture largely works through creating neuronal signals between the peripheral and central nervous systems in the body.
How is it done?
An electroacupuncture machine uses an oscillator to generate a pulsating current, which is connected, via small alligator clips, to acupuncture needles that have already been placed in the skin as per normal. The level of output is slowly turned up until the patient feels a small amount of stimulation. It can then carefully increased until it is at a level that feels comfortable.
Does it hurt?
There can be a variety of sensations with electroacupuncture. It commonly has a ‘pulsing’ or ‘tapping’ sensation. It can be quite intense but the practitioner (or patient) can always adjust the stimulation dial to a level that is comfortable.
Advantages of electroacupuncture
Electroacupuncture provides the ability to control the frequency and intensity of sensation for a consistent period of time with reduced risk of tissue damage, compared to manual stimulation.
The machine can also maintain strong stimulus over a relatively long period of time, which can be useful for getting strong signals to the nervous system.
If you have not had successful results with acupuncture alone, this can be a great adjunct to treatment. Ask your practitioner if it’s right for you.